Race for Spurs roster spot down to Curry, Brown

By Jeff McDonald

MIAMI — Ten days before the start of the regular season, there technically remain four candidates to claim the Spurs’ 15th and final roster spot.

Before Saturday’s 104-101 loss at Miami, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich winnowed the field further.

“We’re looking at basically two guys, Eddy Curry and Derrick Brown,” Popovich said.

Curry, a 29-year-old center whose career has become synonymous with squandered promise, has throughout the preseason displayed a consistent ability to put the ball in the basket.

In his Saturday return to Miami, where he was a little-used member of last season’s NBA championship squad, Curry contributed nine points in less than eight minutes.

“Eddy lost 20 pounds to come to camp, and he’s played through being tired, which has always been a bugaboo for him in the past,” Popovich said. “He’s worked very hard, and he’s done a lot of good things.”

Brown, a 25-year-old former Charlotte Bobcat who can guard both small and power forwards, did not play Saturday. Still, Popovich has been impressed with Brown’s versatility and defensive chops.

“He’s a talented kid,” Popovich said. “Sometimes it takes people a little longer for the light to go on. You get them into another program and things work for them.”

The Spurs have until Oct. 29 to cut their roster from 18 players to no more than 15.

In addition to Curry and Brown, two other players on camp contracts — forwards Josh Powell and Wesley Witherspoon — remain on the roster for now.

Powell logged 16 minutes against the Heat, producing eight points and six rebounds, but made only 3-of-8 field goals. Witherspoon did not travel with the team to Florida, although he has not yet been formally waived.

Prize waits: In addition to the promise of a paycheck, Curry has another reason to want to make the Spurs.

If Curry is on the team Nov. 29, when the Spurs return to Miami in the regular season, that’s the date he’s most likely to receive his championship ring from the Heat.

“It’s cool,” Curry said. “I already got sized and everything. My wife, too.”

Having appeared in just 14 games for Miami last season, and none in the playoffs, Curry admits he had considerably less to do with the Heat’s title than, say, LeBron James did.

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful,” Curry said. “My second ring will be better. I’ll say it like that.”

Got Spo’s vote: One person rooting for Curry to hook on with the Spurs is Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.

“He has really committed himself, to put himself in a position not only to be back in this league, but really be an impact player,” Spoelstra said.


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